GENEVA (12 June 2012) – Sustainable development is not possible without due regard for human rights, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay stressed on Tuesday, ahead of the resumption of negotiations on the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). Pillay will join the conference next week to press upon States the need to infuse human rights into the final outcome document.
“Human rights and sustainable development are inextricably linked – without explicit human rights safeguards, policies intended to advance environmental or development goals can have serious negative impacts on people’s rights and livelihoods,” Pillay said. “Sustainable development is simply not possible without due regard for human rights.”
The final round of negotiations on the Rio+20 outcome, dubbed the blueprint for the “Future We Want”, begins tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, ahead of the arrival of more than 100 heads of State and ministers to make final decisions at the Conference, 20-22 June.
Pillay has been a strong advocate that advancing the green economy and human rights must go hand in hand.
“Simply put, participatory, accountable, non-discriminatory and empowering development is more effective, more just, and, ultimately, more sustainable,” the human rights chief said to UN Member States in an open letter earlier in the negotiations process.
She urged States to fully integrate these human rights principles, give explicit attention to the rights to food, water and sanitation, health, education and development, and include human rights-based policy coherence and impact assessment in the Rio+20 outcome.
Pillay’s calls have been echoed by many, as shown in the enthusiastic responses worldwide, especially from civil society, to a “Speak Up for Human Rights in the Future We Want: #RightsRio” social media campaign run by her Office. Some governments have recently expressed support for human rights in the negotiations and relevant proposals have been put forward.
“But the battle is far from won. Most human rights provisions remain ‘bracketed’,” Pillay warns. “Twenty years after Rio, one would hope and expect that we will move forward rather than backwards on the essential human rights commitments contained in the Rio Declaration.”
The UN human rights chief is to host an event with the United Nations Environment Programme in Rio de Janeiro on “Human Rights at the Centre of Sustainable Development”, participate in a roundtable discussion and engage in discussion with key players during the Rio+20 Conference.
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Learn more about the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/AboutUs/Pages/HighCommissioner.aspx
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Read the High Commissioner's open letter to States on Rio+20: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Development/OpenLetterHC.pdf
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